Kathmadnu, June 28:
The age-old language texts, thousands of hand written manuscripts and scripts, which are important historical documents, are currently in poor shape and are in need of urgent preservation, experts said.
There are 1, 81,000 manuscripts, thousands of hand written manuscripts, micro film manuscripts awaiting proper preservation, said Prakash Darnal, Chief of National Archives (NA).
During the excavation of several historical, ancient manuscripts, scripts and other objects have been discovered, which is kept safely at NA. The longer power outages and lack of sufficient budget have obstructed the task of maintaining the standard and quality of these objects, Darnal said.
Many hands made manuscripts engraved in gold have started fading and also been eaten away by insects, he said.
He said that these documents could be saved permanently for future generation if the trained manpower and modern technology are provided to NA.
Different language texts -namely different languages and scripts, particularly Nepali, Sanskrit, Newari, Tibetan, Maithaili, Hindi and Avadhi are collected and preserved in a systematic way. Among them some texts take the form of legends and myths, moral stories, drams and hymns and others are astrology, medicine, philosophy, religion and others, said Kumar Shrestha, chief photographer of NA
There are four preserved folios written in Lichchhavi script (Gupta) and featuring a portion of the Vinaya-Pitaka, a collection of pali tests, dated back to the 8th century. A palm-leaf manuscript of the Hindu Skands-Purana, copied in 810 A.D, and Lichchhavi scripts, one of oldest dated Nepalese manuscripts are found at the NA.
Similarly, an 8th century Saddharma-Pundarika, palm-leaf Buddhist manuscripts in the Sanskrit language written in Lichchhavi script is another of the oldest treasures in the NA collection. The earliest paper documents, Karandavyuha, king Jyasthiti Mall’s legal code, the oldest written code of law written 1380 A.D., are other attractions of here.
With the support of Nepal German Manuscripts Catalog Project (NGMCP), NA has already initiated microfilming procedure of the collected manuscripts, informed Shrestha.
In addition, there are a huge number of microfilm collections in NA’s possession- 5,300,000 folios from 1, 81,500 individual manuscripts preserved on negative and positive microfilm reels.
Due to change in technology, the concept of microfilm is also needed to be digitalised. But due to the lack of equipment, the digitalization of all microfilms has become a difficult process, he said.
Rajendra Prasad Neupane, reprographer of NA, said that life time of a microfilm is 300 years but due to the several difficulties like power-cuts, the NA microfilms age is limited to around 100 years.
It needs around Rs 6 to 7 million budgets to digitations of all microfilms. If the government provides the budget, the digitalization of the microfilms can complete in one to two years time, he added.